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Is the word "education" or "training" correct? For example:

  • I attended the HTL, where I got a 4-year education in "Electronic, Technical Informatics".
  • I attended the HTL, where I got a 4-year training in "Electronic, Technical Informatics".

Thanks in advance. Best regards, John.

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'Get an education' is an accepted idiom; 'get a training' isn't. I'd prefer: I attended the HTL, where I received 4 years' training in "Electronic, Technical Informatics". –  Edwin Ashworth Apr 23 '13 at 21:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I attended the HTL, where I got a 4-year education in "Electronic, Technical Informatics".

This usage is correct. This sense of education is countable, so you can use with with an indefinite article or number.

I attended the HTL, where I got a 4-year training in "Electronic, Technical Informatics".

Training sees use as a countable noun in human resources jargon, but professional English translators balk at the use in general English. Standard English usage is "four years of training." Also, education is more appropriate than training for college and university degrees; either word is appropriate for a technical or vocational degree.

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thanks for the in-depth answer –  John Brunner Apr 23 '13 at 21:34

In academia, there is often a difference between education and training. Training tends to be hands-on, and its ultimate goal is to give you a skill. Education is concerned more with broader understanding and knowledge.

Googling difference between education and training yields over 70 million hits; here are a few excerpts I encountered:

Education concerns remembering facts and understanding concepts. It is usually taught in school, although self-study is possible. Training concerns gaining skills and taught either in trade schools or business training sessions. [source]

Education focuses on creating lifelong independent thinkers whereas training focuses on skills sought after by employers. [source]

An education includes memorization of specific pieces of information and developing an understanding of concepts or philosophies. Unlike education, which includes memorization and the more abstract understanding of broad concepts, training typically includes working towards gaining a specific skill. Although you may take classes, seminars or workshops that are considered training, these programs and experience have concrete goals that focus on teaching you a quantifiable or measurable skill. [source]

Training brings the learner up to the level of others in the industry and will tend to make them the same as the experts they seek to emulate. Training helps the learner solve known problems with a high degree of expertise. Education is different. It should be used to acquire a mindset not currently owned or to deepen a mindset already possessed. [source]

When people have trouble grasping the difference between the two, one oft-quoted nugget of clarification I've heard is:

Which do you want your daughter to get? Sex education? Or sex training?

So, which word should you use? Use the word that best describes the program. If it was largely hands-on, offered by a technical or vocational school, aimed at getting you a certification, then you probably received training. If you attended a four-year accredited institution that offered degrees, then you probably received an education.

Either way, though, I agree with the earlier remarks; don't use:

got a 4-year training (or education)

Instead, you could say:

completed a 4-year training program (or educational program)

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thanks for your in-depth answer and the nugget of clarification. it's indeed a good and memorable example. –  John Brunner Apr 24 '13 at 7:42

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